In his commentary on the book of James, George Stulac tells the following story:
My wife’s father was in Europe for the first two years of her childhood. There were long stretches of those two years during which my mother-in-law had no word from her husband and did not know anything of his safety. When she shares memories of those difficult days, people sometimes ask her, “How did you stand it?” Her answer: “Everyone had someone over there in the war, so we were in it together.”
Stulac’s anecdote illustrates an important truth: Shared suffering is easier to bear. I vividly remember my own father’s stories about the Depression. He was born in 1930. As a little boy, he had no manufactured toys. Decent shoes were a luxury. Earning enough money to buy groceries was painfully difficult for his parents. But my dad was able to laugh about the hardships of his childhood. How? Millions and millions of other people endured the same deprivations.
Have you ever noticed that the Christian faith is a one-another religion? According to Jesus and his disciples, we are to pray for one another, live in harmony with one another, confess our sins to one another, forgive one another, accept one another, honor one another, teach one another, submit to one another, serve one another, admonish one another, love one another, show hospitality to one another, encourage one another, and yes, bear one another’s burdens.
It’s possible to feel alone in a world full of people. It’s possible to feel alone in a home crowded with relatives. But that isn’t God’s will for the church. If you know that someone is struggling, stand beside him or her. The Bible says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).